A former BT engineer´s claim for hearing compensation has been heard at Cardiff County Court after BT challenged the amount of special damages that was being claimed for a private hearing aid.
The claimant, a 62-year-old former engineer and jointer, had worked for BT from 1981 to 2010 and alleged in his claim for BT engineer hearing compensation that his need to wear a hearing aid had been accelerated by fifteen years due to being exposed to loud, high-pitched tonal noises while tracing, testing and installing BT telephone lines.
BT had admitted a general breach of duty in August 2010 in Watkins v British Telecommunications, which led to a surge of hearing loss compensation claims by former BT engineers. However, whereas subsequent claims by BT engineers for hearing loss had been settled out of court, BT contended that the claimant in this case did not require a private hearing aid as the equipment provided by the NHS was considered adequate.
The claimant told the Cardiff County Court that he had worn an NHS hearing aid since December 2009 which he found tended to screech whenever in close proximity to his hand. As he found it necessary to change the settings on the device manually from time to time, the high-pitched sound caused him discomfort and embarrassment.
Expert testimony provided in court explained that the claimant would be better served by a private hearing aid with Bluetooth connectivity costing 2,395 pounds and having a life expectancy of five years. Allowing for renewals, servicing charges, extended warranty charges, batteries and inflation, the judge considered the sum of 11,422 pounds to be an appropriate level of special damages to be added to the claimant´s award of 7,950 pounds for pain, suffering and loss of amenity.